How Can One Interact and Respond to a Toxic Parent?

Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad


How can one interact and respond to a toxic parent, a parent who apologizes but does not change their ways and throws hurtful words around?


Thank you for your question. I am very sorry that you don’t feel respected by your parent, I empathize with your pain, and I pray that he/she comes to realize what he/she is doing.

Respect for Parents

Allah Most High said in the Quran, “And your Lord has decreed that you not worship except Him, and to parents, good treatment. Whether one or both of them reach old age [while] with you, say not to them [so much as], “Uff,” and do not repel them but speak to them a noble word.” [Quran, 17:23]

I commend you for your patience, and I urge you not to answer back rudely; even silence is a very high and noble characteristic when dealing with toxic parents. Please know that Islam does not condone or encourage this behavior from parent to child. Children have a right to be respected and not humiliated. Do not connect their behavior to our great religion. Read about the Prophet’s life, may Allah bless and grant him peace, and know that he did not degrade anyone, child, man, or woman.


Until then, try these tips:

-Be assertive with your parents by setting boundaries.
-Be polite and don’t get angry.
-Spend private time at home in your room, and don’t engage them when they insult you.
-Pick up some beneficial activities or hobbies outside the home.
-Have good religious friends that you see regularly and bring them over to your place.
-Get involved in charities; nothing gives you a better perspective of your problems than seeing the problems of others.
-We have much to be grateful for. Thank Allah every night for their good qualities and the blessings in your life.

Turn to Allah

I highly recommend you turn to the One who sent you these problems and can send you a solution. He is the One who tests His servants and rewards them with closeness to Him and eternal happiness. Channel your pain into regular prayer and du`a, and pray that your parent sees the truth of what he/she does. Don’t repeat the cycle with your children which often can happen unknowingly.


I recommend you say this prophetic du`a daily:

اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ مُنْكَرَاتِ الْأَخْلَاقِ والأعْمالِ والأَهْواء.

“O God, I seek refuge in Thee from objectionable characteristics, deeds and passions.” [Tirmidhi]

Please see these links as well:
May Allah give you the best of this world and the next.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria, for two years, where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafsir, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin and completed her Master’s in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan, where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She later moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.